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Opinion

Celebrities spend too much time lecturing

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April 11, 2008

You might have heard the news that Charlton Heston has passed away. Heston made a name for himself with conservatives as the president of the National Rifle Association.

You may not believe it, but Heston also had a very successful movie career. Don’t believe me? Look it up.

He was Moses, Ben Hur and ate food made of ground up people. Lately, however, Heston had become the poster child for the political right and gun-toting Americans everywhere.

There is a thin line in Hollywood between actor and sometime political activist, and political nut and sometime actor.

While being a Hollywood megastar opens doors which would not normally be open to individuals, it comes with a huge risk.

We are all familiar with the political leanings of Susan Sarandon, Tim Robbins and George Clooney, right? Liberals.

Nearly every opportunity they get, many Hollywood stars give their opinion of the current political situation. Because you played a doctor on a popular NBC program doesn’t give you the credentials of being one.

Remember when Tom Selleck was kicked off the Rosie O’Donnell Show because he wanted to discuss handguns instead of his upcoming movie? I do.

I am all for free expression. If you have a viewpoint, I believe fully that you should share it. I write a column every week that only a handful of friends read (or at least tell me they read), and use it to convey some of my viewpoints.

The difference though, is that politics will be my career. I’m not acting, I won’t be making millions of dollars in any picture or for any other reason for that matter. I don’t draw millions of people in with my charismatic portrayals of lawyers or even politicians only to use my fame as a means to showcase my political viewpoints.

I realize politics sells, but I enjoyed movies more when they were what they said they were: meaningless.

Eventually, stars lose their image as Hollywood icons and become different in some way.

Remember when Bono was a member of a little band called U2? Now he is busy saving the world.

I will be the first to admit that there is a lot wrong with the world, but how much can Bono help? Bono and many other stars have become a parody of themselves.

Many celebrities have been lampooned by members of the media, characterized because of their political viewpoints. At what point does a celebrity come to hurt the movement they’ve spent so much time building instead of helping?

I consider myself a liberal—no surprise—and I am shocked at how everyone now considers liberalism a dirty term.

I wondered how being a liberal could be considered such a horrible thing.

Even politicians running for President, like Barack Obama, refuse to call themselves liberals.

Then I turn on “Entertainment Tonight” or “The Insider” and see the latest celebrity railing against the war in Iraq or the Bush administration and my head suddenly hurts.

As a movie fan, I appreciate your cinematic work.

However, I don’t believe the Oscar ceremony should be an opportunity for your soapbox political stance.

By all accounts, Heston was a wonderful man. He made some of the greatest movies in movie history—he was a Hollywood icon.

In the end, however, what will be about his movies and what will be about his political views?

Many celebrities have made excellent movies but run the risk of having them overshadowed by their political ideology.

Please, Hollywood stars, would you just shut up and act?

Joe is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year’s Student Senate president.뮪

Joe Eggers is a fifth year senior from Appleton, Wis. He is a political science and international studies major. He has been involved in several activities on campus, including a stint as last year's Student Senate president.